Reminders of the past me

2017-03-20 11_20_54-(4) EJ Hunyadi

Today as I opened Facebook, the memories feature popped up to show me a photo and a post I’d made two years ago. It was a post I had made about flying RC planes with my son and how happy (and impressed) I was with him coming out to the field with me and his skills. At the time this photo was taken, I was pretty happy with how I looked. I thought I didn’t look so large. Compared to today, wow.

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I feel so much better now. When I took that photo with my son, I remember that just getting my planes out of the car was a chore and would make me feel winded.Walking out to the field was about all I could do because I was so out of shape. My knees were sore, and bending over to pick up the plane was always an exercise in flexibility that I disliked. And the sweating? So much sweating even when it wasn’t that hot out.

It’s good to be reminded from time to time from where I came in this journey to being healthy. It’s a good motivator to keep doing what I’m doing and to stick with it.

Keep the fire burning

We have our ups and downs. There are days I’m disgusted with my lack of progress in either weight loss, getting slimmer, running faster, doing more push ups, starting on my sit ups, etc. I’m not immune to feelings of failure and defeat. We all experience these things. It’s how we handle those feelings and what we do afterward that separates the successful from those who are not.

When I feel defeated, I do what I can to put it at the back of my mind and formulate a plan to get past whatever barrier I’m facing. When I was having problems with feeling motivated, I set my mind to faking motivation until it was genuine. Sounds crazy, but it works. When I wasn’t making progress in losing weight, I analyzed what I was doing and found I wasn’t eating enough. I fixed that and began losing weight again. When I decided that there was something wrong with my running, I decided to try running without looking at my watch for the pace and running naturally. Turned out that I am able to push myself more effectively when not watching my GPS data.

As it happens, I haven’t run in the past four days. The first regular run day I skipped as last Friday because we had friends coming over, and I needed to help get the house squared away. I lost track of time, and the next thing I know, people are coming through the door. Run missed. The next day, Sherry and I went and did our Saturday thing and spent the day together running errands, and again, the day got away from me. Sunday was… well, it was a lazy day and before I knew it, it was dinnertime and I didn’t want to keep Sherry waiting for another hour to eat, so I skipped my run again. Ugh.

It’s not due to motivation. It was due to poor time management. The irony is that I was actually pretty upset about not being able to run. Each time I realized how time got away from me, I felt upset. Today, I will run. I have stuff to do, but I will run regardless of how late I have to go out and do it. The fire is burning inside me, and I will not let it go out!

Crossing over to fitness as fun

This is something I never, ever thought I would have to write about, let alone admit. I’m considering activities that are fitness-based as fun. I’ve already professed my like of 5k runs, and I’m signed up for a few already. However, I was asked recently to join some friends on some Spartan runs, and I can’t believe I’m writing this, but it actually sounds like something I would have fun with. So, I think I will.

I’ve also been asked to do Go Ruck, and I will be doing some of that, too.

I figure that if it’s something that helps keep me fit and healthy, gives me some more exercise, and is related somehow to my military training and service, then it’s something I might have fun with.

Never think that your likes, dislikes, interests, and goals are set in stone. They evolve, just as we do. Our tastes change (I used to like asparagus: now I LOVE asparagus!), and we grow. What I disliked, I now like. Heck, what I thought I could never enjoy is now something I look forward to (running)!

Never say never. Always look for opportunities to grow. You never know what you will enjoy unless you give it a chance.

Looking for the Silver Lining…

Some ups and downs for Sherry these past few weeks. I’m doing the best I can to make our home life as stable and uncomplicated as possible while she deals with work stresses.

Our Daily Bacon

I know I haven’t been writing as much as I usually do – and for that I’m really sorry.  My only excuse is that it’s been a crappy couple of weeks at work, so that means my stress levels are through the ceiling, and consequently, so is the scale.

I have no idea if there’s been a reasonable study on it or not, but I can directly correlate my periods of successful weight loss to times in my life when things were relatively stable –   feeling somewhat in control at work and at home, and therefore over my body and my cravings.  Right now is not one of those times.  While things are actually humming along just fine at home, my stresses at work are at an all-time high, which translates to exhaustion, both physically and mentally.  While I may be holding on to some excess pounds I’d really…

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When the conference room is full of sweets

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All the sweets.

Don’t you hate it when you pass the conference room or the workplace break area and someone has brought in a bunch of donuts, cinnamon rolls, or other foods you shouldn’t be eating? It smells delicious, and often even looks delicious, but you know that it’s something you shouldn’t eat. I used to hate it, and it used to be a temptation for me, but now, it’s more a curiosity.

I don’t get cravings from seeing sweets anymore. I used to, and sure, I can imagine how wonderful a cinnamon roll would taste, but I no longer have the overwhelming desire to have some of it. I think it’s because I’ve weaned myself off sugar and the cravings that go along with being addicted to sugar, but it’s also because of the changes I’ve made in my mindset and my relationship with food.

In the past, I’d see sweets on a tray and I would start planning how I could get away with taking more than 1. Maybe 3 or 4? I could never get enough. Of course, I didn’t want to be rude and take more than my share from anyone else, but at the same time I was a big guy, and if I was going to have sweets, I had to have THE SWEETS. I would eat one right there. Immediately. That would fulfill the immediate need. Then, I would take 1-2 with me to my desk and eat them at my leisure. After finishing those, I would walk by the tray again to see what was left after a few hours. I figured that if there was food still there, everyone had ample time to get something. At this point, everything was fair game. I would then take at least 1, and sometimes 2 more back to my desk again for consumption later during the day.

Looking back at it now, I can see how horrible that was for my health. At the time, I hadn’t a care in the world about my weight or my health, and it seemed completely normal to me. My new normal is to look at the tray, imagine how delicious the foods are, and then scan for any fruits. Sometimes there may be fruit present for those who are healthy minded, but it’s usually bananas (which I like, but they contain too much sugar for me now). I then switch my attention onto something else and put it out of my mind completely. Yes, I Jedi Mind Trick myself away from temptation. It wasn’t always easy, and sometimes it’s still not (Cinnabon, you bastards). But now, after nearly two years, I can finally walk past a tray of sweet or bad foods and it doesn’t tempt me.

It feels liberating, and I feel great about that. It’s another victory in my journey toward being healthy and fit.

Palate Fatigue

Palate fatigue is what you get when you eat the same foods over and over again and you don’t want to eat them anymore. It’s very real, and studied a lot because it is what keeps humans from being able to eat the same thing day after day, week after week, month after month. This is what keeps us from having the one, perfect food. Us humans like variety, and it’s more than just preference: it’s in our nature. What happens when you eat the same food, regardless of how good it is for you, day after day? You tire of it and become unable to eat it. Some people say they could eat pizza every day non-stop, but the reality is that you would get tired of pizza, and eventually, you’d grow to hate it.

Palate fatigue is one of the reasons people fall off diets. They take on restrictive diets that limit them to one type of food, or very few types of foods, and eventually, palate fatigue kicks in, and these people are forced to find an alternative. A good friend of mine was on a restrictive diet once, and he told me that he lost a lot of weight and felt good on this diet, but the food was so bland and boring that he dropped it. It’s actually the idea behind the Cabbage Soup Diet: eat all  you want, because eventually, you won’t want to eat.

This is horrible. There is no reason to hate your food. I am fortunate that there are as many Paleo options out there as there are non-Paleo options. Heck, most non-Paleo foods have a Paleo-friendly alternative. I was thinking about the food I eat today, and it dawned on me that I really enjoy what I eat, it’s delicious, filling, and I’m never bored with it. Sherry does a great job of rotating through recipes, even my favorites. Even though I tell her I can eat the meatloaf or chili all the time, she rotates those with other favorites so that I don’t even get close to palate fatigue.

Don’t eat the same boring foods day in and day out. You will be unhappy, and eventually eat foods that aren’t good for you. Check out the recipes on her blog for a starting point.

Getting close to the start of a second year

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My latest mugshot. This is what a happy, healthy, and fit PaleoMarine looks like.

I lost 100 lbs in 10 months, and that anniversary is approaching in July. I will be entering my second year at more than 100 lbs less than I was in September of 2017. A big measure of a person’s success at weight loss is keeping that weight off long-term. Well, I’ve been keeping it off and even lost more since July 2016. I still have 7 more lbs to go (that stubborn 7, I call it), and then I’m at my goal weight. I am hoping to hit that before my 2 year anniversary of starting my first Whole30.

I was recently looking at some old pictures of me, and I am having a harder and harder time recognizing myself in those pictures. Slowly, my self-image is being replaced with this thinner and healthier person that I am today. I don’t ever want to go back to being that unhealthy again. I couldn’t handle it physically or emotionally.

My life does not revolve around food, but food is at the center of our existence, so this is something I’ve had to learn. Without food, we obviously wither and die, so how do we deal with all the temptation of foods that are bad for us while continuing to fuel our bodies? For me, as time goes by, it’s been getting easier. I see food in a whole new light: it’s fuel. Sure, some of it tastes better than others, and sometimes I want to enjoy some tasty food, but ultimately, it’s just fuel. Everything that goes on outside of meals is life. Eating is sitting at a gas station. At least that’s what works for me.

Don’t get me wrong. My wife Sherry and I enjoyed a great meal last week at Pappadeaux here in Houston, and everything was delicious. We both had Paleo-friendly options as our main courses, but the Caesar salad we had was definitely not Paleo. Even though we both eat them without croutons, the dairy in the dressing caused some water weight gain for me the following morning. We both enjoyed our food, our dinner experience, and once again, enjoyed each others’ company. That’s what life is about. But this was a treat.

What works for me may not work for you. My mind hack is that food is fuel. I get hungry when my fuel tank is near empty, so I refill. I just ate lunch and I feel sated, but I know that when I get home tonight, I will be a bit hungry. I won’t eat right when I get home as I’ll be running, but typically by the time I’m done running and through with my cool-down and shower, it’s time to eat dinner. Besides, running actually removes hunger. Pretty cool! With all that said, find what works for you to keep from eating too much, too often, and of foods that are not good for you.

I’m getting close to having a year at -100 lbs. I’m looking forward to that anniversary and beyond.